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What's in a Name Part Three

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted January 28, 2015

RELIGION – We have been discussing names of God over the past few weeks, so I have to share this story from Time Magazine. “A recently-born baby named Nutella was renamed by a court in the French city of Valenciennes after a judge ruled that the parents’ decision to the name the child after a food was against the child’s interest, according to a new report in the newspaper La Voix Du Nord.“The name ‘Nutella’ given to the child is the trade name of a spread,” the court’s decision read, according to a translation.

“And it is contrary to the child’s interest to be wearing a name like that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.” The judge renamed the child Ella after the parents failed to show up at a court appointed day in November. The baby was born in September.

I love this story and I love Nutella! My wife will not let me go to Sam’s Club alone because I bring home the three pound tub! It is amazing stuff. I like it on everything! Almonds, raisins, marshmallows, and graham crackers you name it. Personally, I love it for a name.  "Come here my little Nutella, you are so sweet I could just smear you all over my bagel!”  But sadly the courts forbade the name.

Moving on to more important matters, we are looking at God’s Name of “El Shaddai ” or God Almighty. How God reveals this name is telling to the importance of it in Abraham’s life and in ours. I, like most of you, sometimes struggle with how God chooses to work during my hard times. It’s not that I don’t think He can resolve the mess of problems, but it’s the timing that gets me. It seems God frequently waits until I am at the end of my resources before He steps in.

Abram could relate. He waited and waited to become a dad, but God did not give him a son. Abram and his wife Sarai waited for years. But still they had no children. God told him again, “Abram, I will make a great new family of people from you. I will give you a lot of land and more people in your family than you can count.” Abram trusted God. He believed that God would keep His promise. So he waited and waited again for years. But still they had no children.

Did God forget His promise? Was God teasing or not telling the truth? Or was God not able to give Abram a great big family? Abram and Sarai got older. Abram talked to God about having a child. Would his servant be the person to start Abram’s family, as opposed to his wife? No. God told Abram that he would have his own son. He would have as many people in his family as there are stars in the sky. Abram believed God and waited. He waited so long that he became an old man, but still they had no children. So Abram and Sarai went with Their Own idea to have children through their  servant, Hagar. Afterall, they had waited so long, soon they would be too old to have a child. So Abram had a son with Hagar, which was wrong. God did not want to make Abram’s family from Hagar’s son. God would make Abram wait even longer. Would Abram keep believing God’s promise?

Abram waited some more. When he was 99, much too old to have children, God told Abram about His promise again. This time God changed Abram’s name to “Abraham,” which means “father of many nations.” He changed Sarai’s name to “Sarah.” God also told Abram another of His own many names—El Shaddai, or God Almighty. This is what El Shaddai, God Almighty, said to Abram: I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly. (Genesis 17:1–2)

God told Abram that He is God Almighty—He has all power, nothing is too hard for Him, He can do all things, and He is all-sufficient. But now He would also show Abram that He is El Shaddai, God Almighty. When Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, God gave them their very own son, Isaac. Abraham and Sarah were very old—too old to have a child. But God is El Shaddai, God Almighty, and nothing is too hard for our Mighty God. He can even make old people have babies! Is anything too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14)

A literal translating of El Shaddai, could also be “God the overpowerer.” This calls attention to the Lord’s sovereign might to do whatever He purposes to do (Ex. 15:6; Matt. 19:26). The qualification, “whatever He purposes to do,” is important, because God’s omnipotence does not mean that God would do everything and anything. For example, He cannot tempt anyone with evil (James 1:13), nor does He do anything that would violate one of His other attributes. God’s knowledge is not limited in any way, because that would violate His omniscience (Isa. 46:8–10; 1 John 3:20). Finally, the Lord’s strength is perfect. It can neither be augmented nor diminished (James 1:16–17), and no one can stop Him from accomplishing His will (Ps. 115:3).

So in your life right now, what situation is requiring you to show patience and trust in God Almighty? Stop and think that God is strong enough to overpower whatever you are facing! Even when setbacks occur, they are only a part of what the Lord will use to bring about your good and His glory in your life. El Shaddai cannot be defeated and will save all those who trust in Him. Do you trust in the Lord’s power in your life? Do you trust Him to overcome what may be insurmountable obstacles for you? Be confident and thankful today that He will certainly accomplish His will.

Planning to overcome my wife’s will and bring home a tub of Nutella ASAP, or if you are out in the Westside of Edgefield feel free to drop a jar by!

Pastor Phillip

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